Nationwide meetings on Sheep Welfare Scheme kick-off tonight

The first in a nationwide series of meetings for farmers who want to receive more information on the €25m Sheep Welfare Scheme will kick off tonight in Dunmanway, Co. Cork.

The scheme opened to applications at the end of December and sheep farmers who wish to take part in the scheme have until January 31 to apply.

Under the scheme farmers will be required to choose actions which can improve the overall welfare of a flock.

These actions will be chosen from a menu from which farmers must choose two actions. based on whether the farmer has a lowland flock or hill flock. These actions must be completed over a 12-month period.

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The scheme actions are applicable to flocks of breeding ewes and are separated into lowland and hill flock actions.

The decision as to which category an applicant belongs to will be based on the type of stock (lowland or hill) held, or where there is a mix, the ratio stock type held and as reported in the Annual Sheep Census 2015.

The scheme requires farmers to undertake and complete two measurable and verifiable sheep welfare actions.

These actions are based on flock type – lowland or hill – which is designated using the sheep numbers returned on the 2015 Census.

Applicants must choose one action from Category A and one action from Category B as appropriate to their flock type (lowland or hill) by ticking the appropriate boxes beside each option on the application form.

Also Read: Everything farmers need to know about the €25m Sheep Welfare Scheme

Payment is €10 per eligible ewe and the scheme will run for four years. Payments are based on the completion of both chosen actions.

Failure to complete one or both actions will result in reduced payments and penalties, the Department has confirmed.

After each year the farmer will be asked whether he/she wishes to continue for another year in the scheme, or to withdraw (without clawback if all of the actions are completed etc).

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